2002 Statement



Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Second Committee
Fifty-seventh Session of the General Assembly

30 September 2002

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I would like to congratulate you, H.E. Mr. Marco Antonio Suazo, Deputy Permanent Representative of Honduras, on your assumption of the chairmanship of this Committee. I extend my congratulations as well to all the other newly elected members of the bureau.

This Second Committee has been involved this past year with issues of great importance to the international community. In the Monterrey International Conference on Financial Development and in the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), we have made epoch making steps in the field of development. I believe it is now incumbent upon us to follow up the results of those conferences.

In Johannesburg, Japan’s Prime Minister Koizumi launched an ambitious new initiative, which outlined the concrete actions Japan would take for sustainable development, and pledged assistance totaling more than 250 billion yen (approximately $2 billion) over the next five years for educational programs in low income countries. I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the recommendation articulated in its Plan of Implementation that the UN General Assembly consider designating a "decade of education for sustainable development" starting in 2005.

As Prime Minister Koizumi noted in his statement at the General Debate earlier this month, Japan believes that in order to balance environmental protection and development, "ownership" by developing countries and "partnership" of the international community with them, which supports their ownership, are essential. NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development emphasizes this global partnership. The Government of Japan’s aid plan for Africa, entitled "Solidarity between Japan and Africa", which it announced prior to the G8 Summit this year, and the policy speech on African development which Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi delivered at the time of her visit to Ethiopia a month ago are based precisely on this view, and show Japan’s determination to work hand in hand with African countries. The announcement at the G8 Kananaskis Summit of the Africa Action Plan was a memorable event, as it proclaimed this strengthened partnership as a general principle. In October of next year, the Government of Japan will conduct the third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III), and it is my sincere hope the deliberations there will further strengthen international efforts for African development.

I would like in this context to comment on NERICA, the acronym for New Rice for Africa, which is a new hybrid of African and Asian species of rice. What is remarkable about NERICAs is that while typical existing species of rice mature in 120-140 days, NERICAs mature only in 90-100days. Furthermore, NERICAs have over 400 grains per panicle, compared to about 250 of the existing species. A Guinean farmer reported that 800 kg was cropped from only 18 kg of seeds in 1999. And in 2001, 4000kg of rice was reported to have been cropped from 150kg of seeds, and his children were able to have better education thanks to this remarkable result. Being resistant to disease and highly productive, NERICAs can be of great help to alleviate food shortage, and I believe it should be made widely available. At present, seventeen countries, especially in western Africa, are participating in a NERICA consortium. Japan believes it is important to create success stories with new ideas such as this, and has been a main donor to this effort since 1997.

In addressing development issues, we need to pay special consideration to the particularly vulnerable situation of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing countries. The Brussels Programme of Action was adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries last year in order to tackle the problems that will be faced by those countries in the coming decade, and the Barbados Programme of Action was adopted to address issues faced by small island developing States. It is essential that those programmes be steadily implemented. As for landlocked developing countries, while there have been meetings at the expert level on cooperation for transit transport, Japan hopes that the next year’s ministerial meeting of landlocked developing countries will deepen the understanding of the international community of the issues facing those countries. I believe we should continue to extend our positive support to this effort.

In the context of development assistance, Japan would like to emphasize the importance of South-South cooperation. In my view, there are many instances where certain developing countries that are comparatively more developed can effectively share their experience and know-how with other developing countries. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Japan has promoted so-called "triangular cooperation" that supports such South-South cooperation, and has exchanged "partnership programs" with Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Egypt, Tunisia, and the Philippines among other countries, under which these countries and Japan have sent experts to third countries or held joint seminars. I believe these activities are worthy of our attention.

In fiscal year 2001, Japan contributed $96 million to the UNDP, or roughly 15 percent of its core budget. In addition, we have also earmarked $4.5 million specifically for South-South cooperation.

Also in the context of South-South cooperation, I would like to say a few words about IDEA, the "Initiative for Development in East Asia". This is a forum for exchanging views on the role and results of official development assistance, taking the achievements of several East Asian nations as examples. It is hoped these discussions will be of some help to economic and social development of other regions. Japan took this initiative on the basis of Prime Minister Koizumi’s idea of "acting together we advance together", which he presented on his visit to several Southeast Asian nations in January of this year. In August Japan convened the IDEA Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo. I believe it will become increasingly important to apply the lessons learned through the experiences of one region to the development of other regions.

Mr. Chairman,

As the concept of sustainable development advances, protecting the earth’s environment is becoming an increasingly important task of all humankind. Of particular urgency is the problem of global warming. In June of this year, Japan ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but in order for it to enter into effect, several Annex I countries still need to ratify it. Japan strongly hopes that this will happen as soon as possible and that concrete measures will be taken to reduce and limit greenhouse gas emissions. As stipulated in the Framework Convention, those countries which are not obligated under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce or limit emissions are also encouraged to make efforts in this area.

It is likewise important to achieve more effective and efficient results under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which were produced at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Environmental protection is essentially a task for all humankind. All the countries of the world, though they may each have different responsibilities, must join hands to make concrete progress toward our common goal. I would stress the need to devise ways and make efforts to enhance compliance with various international environmental agreements.

Mr. Chairman,

At the opening session, the Chairman spoke of the need to manage the affairs of the Second Committee in a more efficient and practical manner. The Japanese delegation shares this concern. It is my conviction that more effective management will create greater trust for this committee and will enhance the legitimacy of the United Nations in the long run.

Thank you.